Informational masking in young and elderly listeners for speech masked by simultaneous speech and noise

T.R. Agus, M.A. Akeroyd, S. Gatehouse, D. Warden

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    56 Citations (Scopus)


    Three experiments measured the effects of age on informational masking of speech by competing speech. The experiments were designed to minimize the energetic contributions of the competing speech so that informational masking could be measured with no large corrections for energetic masking. Experiment 1 used a "speech-in-speech-in-noise" design, in which the competing speech was presented in noise at a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of -4 dB. This ensured that the noise primarily contributed the energetic masking but the competing speech contributed the informational masking. Equal amounts of informational masking (3 dB) were observed for young and elderly listeners, although less was found for hearing-impaired listeners. Experiment 2 tested a range of SNRs in this design and showed that informational masking increased with SNR up to about an SNR of -4 dB, but decreased thereafter. Experiment 3 further reduced the energetic contribution of the competing speech by filtering it into different frequency bands from the target speech. The elderly listeners again showed approximately the same amount of informational masking (4-5 dB), although some elderly listeners had particular difficulty understanding these stimuli in any condition. On the whole, these results suggest that young and elderly listeners were equally susceptible to informational masking.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1926-1940
    Number of pages15
    JournalThe Journal of the Acoustical Society of America
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2009


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